Saturday, May 24, 2008

What is Memorial Day?

While I enjoy a three day weekend as much as the next person, I wonder whether or not it is a good thing. We observe our holidays on a Monday instead of their calendar dates so that we can enjoy those long weekends. However, I'm afraid that it's an unfounded theory.

Allow me to qualify that by stating that only some of us actually get to enjoy three days away from work. There are many who have to work, not only on the holidays, but Sundays as well.

Those holidays that have been transplanted to Mondays are for the most part becoming, if they aren't already, generic and transparent. Their transparency lying in that their significance have become lost. Some people, the youth of today in particular, have become clueless as to what the holidays represent.
1st man: "Got any plans for Memorial Day weekend?"
2nd man: "Sure. Gonna fire up the barbecue and cook up some steak tips, burgers, hot dogs and kielbasa. Got a couple cases of brewskies on ice now."
1st man:"Same here."
2nd man: "Memorial Day is a great Holiday, isn't it?"
1st man:"You bet."
3rd man:"Aren't you going to visit the cemetery?"
2nd man: "???"
1st man: "???"
Of course, the first and second men knew the meaning of Memorial Day, but couldn't remembering celebrating it in its true spirit. Well, if they don't recognize the significance of the day and practice it, how then will their children learn the meaning of the day?

When I handed a copy of the editorial cartoon that opens this post to a friend, she said it was tasteless! She wanted to know why anyone would want to show such disrespect for dead American soldiers by arranging coffins to spell out "Memorial Day"?

I couldn't convince her that the cartoon was not meant to be disrespectful, but rather it was reminder, albeit a grim reminder, that we should honor those men and women who have given their lives to defend our country.

She couldn't see, or didn't want to see the editorial message in the image. I saw it, after all I was a Vietnam-Era veteran. I found it ironic that she too was a veteran, having served as a nurse in the Korean conflict.

Yes, I know that the cartoonist's message was that we need to remember and honor those who have died and those who now fight for our freedom.

Any nation that does not honor
its heroes will not long endure.

- Abraham Lincoln



Skunkfeathers said...

I remember Memorial Day every year, even if I have to remember it from work. I can work because of the veterans.

Jack K. said...

That's a wondrous thing about political cartoons, they don't have to be funny.

That cartoonist deserves some kudos for the reminder.

We vets gotta stick together.

My Nam tours were '65 to '66 and the second in '71.

I remember a fallen comrade, Cpt. Chet Lee. He was out-gunned while trying to protect one of his troops.

Hope your weekend goes well.

Hale McKay said...


Good for you. And if we choose not to work - we can thank veterans for that too.

Hale McKay said...


I agree with your point about political cartoons. Sometimes it is the serious ones that send the best message.

I never saw action during my tour of duty, but because of anti-American sentiments in the 60s and 70s we often found ourselves in harms way when we visited a few certain foreign ports.

A good weekend end to you too.